SPCS Physics: Summer Institute
References, Problems, and Solutions
Special and General Relativity
June 22 - July 9, 2015
Instructor: Gary Oas
Classroom is in 200-305 (upstairs, History corner)
Residence is Theta Delta
Questions?: email Gary.
July 4, 2015:
I have limited access to this website on the weekend and will post week
2's materials on Monday.
Old news from previous camps
Also, Lingering questions, and responses,
from students in various courses
Week 1: Special relativity, kinematics and dynamics
Week 2: Special relativity dynamics, towards GR
Week 3: GR, black holes etc.
Problem Sets and Solutions
Alternate online texts (2014)
To make up for the lack of text, I have posted here various online texts on relativity. I will post the
ones relevant for this level first.
Special Relativity, D. Hogg. This is pretty close to the level of Spacetime Physics and this course.
Special Relativity, V. Lindberg. This is pretty close and seems to rip off Taylor and Wheeler (they're probably not happy).
Special Relativity, P. Harris. Another in the same vein. This one may be a little more readable.
Ok, now for some that are a little more formal.
Special Relativity, P. Harris.
Chapter 2 of Thorne's Caltech notes (SR). I highly recommend getting this whole, extensive book.
Chapter 24 of Thorne's Caltech notes (GR).
Chapter 25 of Thorne's Caltech notes (Fundamentals of GR).
There are some other problems that may be optional or
as a contest. I will post these when they are done.
Here are some blogs pertaining to physics.
Sean Carroll's website (CalTech). Preposterous Universe,
and the blog
Sabine Hossenfelder's blog, Backreaction.
Often some personal stuff (and singing videos that I dare not click on), but other times there
are excellent posts.
Quantum Frontiers The blog of Caltech's Inst. for Quantum Information and Matter. Some very good posts (though often quite advanced).
...more to come...
Since you received a thorough introduction to relativity all I can
suggest along these lines is to explore the two texts we used.
The second book "Exploring Black Holes" covers many advanced topics
on black holes that you only get with a full on GR class.
It does use calculus though.
I would say if you want to continue on from this course, there are three books to consider.
"Incomprehensible" which you have. This a nice follow on and will get you into differential geometry a bit.
Ta-Pei Cheng "Relativity, Cosmology" Cambridge press. I really like this book and is a natural follow up.
T. Moore "A General Relativity Handbook." Good if you want to solve more problems to develop your skills.
Full on relativity If you want to go into relativity with more
rigor, get one of the texts listed below. I would probably suggest the Rindler
one to go through next. It is a full on text but is more approachable than the higher level ones.
Want to be a Quantum Mechanic? Well, apply for next year's Summer
Institute in QM (shameless plug). Best to apply once you have taken calculus.
If that is too far off, pick up the "Strange World of QM" mentioned below
to get you going. The other reference "Quantum Challenge" is excellent, but
often assumes familiarity with QM.
Library of Related Articles
Here is a list of articles in pdf form which are related to GR
and black holes. Many talk about quantum aspects of black holes.
The Right Hand Side of Einstein's Equation
My notes on the Stress-Energy tensor T^mn. This is based almost directly
on the following paper.
The Meaning of Einstein's Equation
by John Baez, UC Riverside. (Limited copies handed out in class).
Power point slides on the GPS system and GR corrections.
A nice site with many animations covering much of relativity
Gravitational Lensing Images
57 images of gravitionally lensed objects
Black Holes, Black Hole Thermodynamics, and Quantum effects
Black Hole InformationScientific American article written by Leonard Susskind of Stanford.
Quick note on Black Hole Thermodynamics by Leonard Susskind.
Black Hole Thermodynamics
A review of the thermodynamics of black holes. Somewhat advanced at times.
String Theory, Quantum gravity, and all that
A brief article written by one of the creators of string
theory. Rather up-to-date (April 2004).
Notes from E. Taylor's class on Cosmology , (author of Spacetime Physics). Requires calculus
Figures for notes from E. Taylor's
The Theory of Inflation By Andreas Albrecht. Starts simple but then gets advanced.
The Theory of Inflation Power Point Screens By Alan Guth, one of the founders of the theory. Easy to follow
Supernovae, Dark Energy, and the Accelerating Universe Article from Physics Today.
A nice talk on QG and the Anthropic Principle by Lenny Susskind.
See also other discussions on this site:
A nice debate between two prominent physicists (Susskind and Smolin),
Various Books on various topics
[Gary's rankings, 0 through 5 complex conjugations (*)].
I know I am neglecting many books, I am just pulling them off my
shelf and listing them.
Special and General Relativity
- *****Black Holes, J.P. Luminet. I highly recommend this inexpensive book.
- **Space and Time in Special Relativity, N. David Mermin. Good but uses relativistic mass (tisk-tisk).
- ***Understanding Relativity, Leo Sartori. More for SR than GR.
- *Relativity, An introduction to spacetime physics, Steve Adams. Some cheezy illustrations. Adequate but defends relativistic mass (Ack!).
- **GR from A to B, Robert Geroch. Diagram based. Mostly SR. It's ok but could have been great.
- ****Black Holes & Time Warps Kip S. Thorne. This is more of a historical development of GR and leads to many advanced concepts. Not an introduction to relativity but more of a guide to the major issues throughout the 20th Century.
- ****A Short History of The Universe Joseph Silk. This is more of a pedestrian approach to Cosmology. Some discussion of GR at a very basic level (warped rubber sheet analogy). Although basic, it covers most of the relevant physics pertinent to Cosmology.
None of this simple stuff, bring it all on!:
- Spacetime Physics and Exploring Black Holes. I know, I know, you are sick of these but they are really great books.
- ****Relativity, Special, General, and Cosmological, Wolfgang Rindler. I thoroughly like this text. Not as advanced as SHutz (below). Appropriate for an upper division course.
- ****Dynamics and Relativity, W.D. Mc Comb. Strange in that about 1/3 to 1/2 covers Newtonian mechanics. But it nicely leads into special and a bit of GR. Not really a text to use for a full course but some good aspects. A nice extension to this course.
Why don't I just go to the source and read Einstein's works?:
- ***A First Course In General Relavity, Bernard Shutz. Often used here at Stanford. Uses the East coast metric, and I've found a few typos. But otherwise excellent.
- *****General Relativity, Robert Wald. THE BOOK of relativity. If you can get through this, you're a sharp cookie. No holds barred, mathematically sophisticated, and dense. Enjoy!
- *****Gravitation, Misner, Wheeler, and Thorne. If Wald is the Bible of GR then this must be the Koran of GR. Often called the "Phonebook" it generates significant curvature of spacetime itself.
- ****Introducing Einstein's Relativity Ray D'Inverno. A rigorous introduction to GR probably not on the same level as Wald or MTW but definitely mathematical. Deals with all of the differential geometrical aspects of GR.
I enjoy some of the mathematical derivations but other pedagogical aspects need work.
- *****General Relativity I.R. Kenyon. This is a more advanced
book that is small and cheap. It may belong in the next section but, I think,
is a great starting point to begin learning about GR and differential geometry.
I would probably recommend not starting with Einstein's works
for general audiences. Although carefully written and they do not
take short cuts like others, the method is rather old fashioned.
I would suggest starting with a good modern introductory text
(like Spacetime Physics, Mermin, or Wald (ok that's a bit much)
and only after developing a sound base in the modern perspective
go back and read Einstein's works. They are more useful to those
who want to understand the history and philosophical underpinnings
In reading his journal articles not much is to be gained in learning
relativity. Many of the discussions, then thought to be difficult,
are found rather simply in a modern view. Also, the whole theory
had not been developed, there were several gaps that remained to
be filled in and some derivations incorrect. Again, I would only
suggest reading them well after you have a thorough grounding
(except maybe "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies").
I will list just a few related to QM since there seemed to be some interest.
First off, I would highly recommend reading the following two books which are used for the SI in QM.
Oh there are many more.
- *****The Strange World of QM, Daniel Styer. A rather short, simple book but contains all of the mysteries in QM. I read it in one night.
- *****The Quantum Challenge, Greenstein et. al. I really like this book, it discusses all of the mysterious properties in terms of experiments. Good discussions of the foundations of QM. A good read for all physicists.
- ****QED, Richard Feynman. Excellent introduction to the path integral approach. Does not talk about all of the mysteries but covers a lot of ground. A classic.
- *****An Introduction to Modern Cosmology, 2nd Ed. by Andrew Liddle.
This is a standard first-time text for Cosmology. Not overly technical but does go into the mathematics of GR and cosmology.
Price is about $35.
- *****Cosmology; The Science of the Universe 2nd Ed., by Edward Harrison.
This may be a little hard to find (we are having difficulties finding
extra copies) but well worth it if you can find it. About $50-60.
This book covers Cosmology in a more non-mathematical way than most texts.
There is plenty on history and philosophy of the universe and also
covers some of the more advanced concepts (inflation).
- *****Principles of Cosmology and Gravitation, M.V. Berry. This is one
of may all time favorite books (right up there with "Leave it to Psmith" by Wodehouse). It goes into GR and cosmology without tensor analysis but not in a cheap way. Many sophisticated results are derived using calculus alone.
Student Links to images
I've added some old pictures from previous camps for your amusement (many are from 2007). You should
recognize the boards. It seems as I was much better with my layout! (I blame the chalk and the board, it's not me!)
Some random pix (how old am I? Many buildings we met in no longer exist):
Secret magnetic wall pictures..shhh. don't tell anyone. I am trying to remember the years..
I'll keep digging around.
- Mai, "So happy!", QM 2008?. This is one of my all time favorite pix.
- Tried to get their band name, QM 2008. They should tour!
- Contest to get the most EMF (current), SRGR 2008. Ashley got 11.8 mA! (record was like 14 mA). Tennis raquet with coil hooked up to an ammeter.
- James G., QM 2008?. One of the top students of all time. Took both SRGR and QM, went to Princeton,
and is now a grad student in physics (oh where??? I need to find out). Smart guy!
- A most brilliant shot!. Need to look up where John went to university.
- Another nice pict. .
- Almost but not quite a record!. My FB quote, "Not the record, but close. Nice pose Meatball, been trying out for Price is Right? Ñ with Choi Tim." Meatball just recently graduated from UC Berkeley. = great guy.
- Only 5??.QM 2008. The record I recall, is 7 or 8.
- Best posed shot. Album cover number 2. .This was SRGR 2008. "The Magneto-Breakfast Racquet Indifference" (?). Better ideas?
Singapore 2005 Pictures
(I hope to soon put up some video).
Singapore Dec 2004 Pictures
Some pix of you guys,
Class pix, large.
SI July 2004
Ed's site for pix, EPGY, SI 2004
See July 24, 2004.